On Thursday, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state’s medical marijuana program protects all patients, whether registered cardholders or not, against prosecution.
The court said that the law expressed the voters’ “intent to permit both registered and unregistered patients to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana.”
Medical marijuana advocates are seeing this as a clear cut victory for patients’ rights, but not everyone is pleased with it. Spokeswoman for state Attorney General Bill Schuette, Joy Yearout, was sure to make it clear that that the ruling “does not legalize marijuana broadly.”
After the ruling, all medical marijuana users are still required to have a doctor’s recommendation before using medical marijuana, they are just not necessarily required to be registered cardholders. Whether a patient has registered with the Michigan Department of Health or not, they are allowed to possess and use medical marijuana, as long as a doctor has recommended that they do so.
There are currently a number of marijuana cases pending in the state, including ones addressing whether patient to patient sales are legal and whether dispensaries can legally operate in the state. Last year, after AG Schuette issued a statement that dispensaries were not permitted, most of the shops closed their doors.
Yesterday’s ruling sends a clear message to patients, lawmakers, and Michigan residents that medical marijuana is legal and that patients are protected by law.